1H 2021 Technology M&A Report

If it feels like Rockwell’s 1984 pop hit “(I Always Feel Like) Somebody’s Watching Me” applies to your own life, you’re not wrong. Facial recognition technology, data scoops, and digital recognition systems have been out there for years. A 2016 Georgetown Law report estimated 117 million Americans are logged in law enforcement facial recognition databases through largely unregulated practices. A 2021 government report found 42 federal agencies – including the Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Customs and Immigration, the Secret Service, U.S. Marshals, and the FBI – use facial recognition technology in response to everything from criminal investigations to incidents of civil unrest to COVID-19 threats. Biometric information – your face, your eye movements, your voice, your movements … anything that makes you, you – can be processed through a variety of A.I. applications and algorithms for any number of uses, law enforcement, public safety, self-driving cars or the development of “stickier” advertisements. Some companies scrape facial images from social media sites and provide that data to law enforcement agencies by subscription (hundreds of them), and there are sites that gather up images from across the web and allow anyone to access them (for a fee). Anyone can track anyone, cops, an abusive ex-partner, a potential employer, identity thieves, foreign entities. Images drawn from security cameras, social media sites, corporate sites, anywhere, can be paired with machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms…

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